MassHealth Adult Day Health / Supportive Day / Dementia Day Services Programs

Program Description

Massachusetts, through its Medicaid programs, under the name MassHealth, supports aging seniors during daytime hours with its Adult Day Health Program and sister programs.  Through a combination of daytime services, these programs aim to provide a care environment that supports the elder in their emotional, cognitive, and physical wellbeing. Further, trained staff assist seniors with their activities of daily living or skilled nursing tasks.

By providing this service, the state health administrators hope to delay institutionalization and help facilitate a community aging alternative to nursing home care. Not only is adult day care much less expensive when compared to nursing home care, many Massachusetts families and seniors prefer it. Families also benefit by being able to continue to work during business hours without the need to hire a private caregiver. 

Massachusetts rules require licensed adult day care centers to operate at least 8 hours per day between Monday and Friday.

There are two related and similar programs to the Adult Day Health Program, these are called Dementia Day Services and Supportive Day Programs. Dementia Day Services are more appropriate for elders with Alzheimer's Disease or other age-related neurological disorders. Supportive Day Programs offer greatly enhanced care services for individuals with high care needs. The eligibility information in this article applies to all three programs. 

Eligibility Guidelines

Massachusetts residents are eligible who are at least 65 years old and require assistance for at least one activity of daily living or require skilled nursing services. Applicants must also meet the financial requirements of MassHealth. MassHealth financial requirements are complex. We summarize the most important aspects for prospective applicants.

Income Rules
Single seniors will need to have less than $1,025 total monthly income below and couples $1,374. Massachusetts also permits residents to reduce their income by some of the qualified unreimbursed medical expenses under their Medically Needy provisions. Participants using the Medically Needy pathway will have a monthly deductible amount that must be spent on medical or care services. Learn more about getting assistance to file an application under the medically needy rules.

Asset Rules
Seniors over 65 in Massachusetts must have savings and other cash equivalents that are less than the asset limits. Individuals who apply must have last than $2,000 total in savings and if a couple is applying together, they should have less than $3,000 in savings or other assets. One should note that higher asset limits exist for MassHealth eligibility to a ‘buy-in program’ where the member shares part of the costs for the care with the state.

If your assets or income are over the published limits, this is not necessary the end of the process. A MassHealth planning professional can assist you in understand how to arrange your finances and help to prepare a successful application to MassHealth for you.


Benefits and Services

The Adult Day Health, Supportive Day and Dementia Day programs helps elders to avoid the need for more intensive care in a 24 hour facility. The following is a general list of services that are available in these programs in Massachusetts:

  • Case management
  • Medication management
  • Meals
  • Nutritional and dietary guidance
  • Occupational, physical and linguistic therapies
  • Personal care for activities of daily living
  • Skilled nursing on site
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Supervision
  • Transportation assistance


How to Apply / Learn More

Individuals interested in applying for this program should make an application to MassHealth for senior services. If you or your family member is already enrolled in MassHealth and would like to learn more about this additional benefit, you should contact either an Area Agency on Aging or an Aging Service Point. Find the closest office to you by searching here.

Learn more about the Community Based Care program on the state website.